I engaged New Clients Inc. (NCI) to help me increase the client base of my accounting and consulting business. NCI offers business development services to accounting and CPA firms nationwide. They guarantee that over a two-year period, a total of $300,000 in new annual billings would be achieved. The program was set to begin in August, 2014. The NCI program includes the hiring is two part-time telemarketers/appointment setters plus a full-time salesperson. NCI provides training as well as all materials required to initiate the program. They will monitor the results and provide weekly phone calls to help increase the knowledge of the sales person. The cost of the program had to be paid in advance. In addition, NCI recommends that the client has working capital on hand to set up and run the program before it reaches the breakeven point. They mandated that an office be leased and set up, which I did. My program was initiated on August 18, 2014, at which time a representative of NCI came in for a week to interview telemarketer and sales person prospects. I had placed an ad in the newspaper to find prospects to come in. During this week, the interviews were held and the salesperson prospect and telemarketers were hired. The telemarketers were to begin making calls and setting up appointments to lists of potential clients. The NCI rep provided some initial training with the idea that the telemarketers would begin making calls and the salesman would start after a couple of weeks. Upon completion of the training, the sales operation would begin. In my case, however, the sales rep quit before he really even started. The people from NCI knew of a person that had served as salesperson for a local CPA firm and brought him in as a replacement. The NCI rep would return in a couple of weeks to train the salesperson, going out on appointments together. Things went as planned and the operation began the week after Labor Day. The telemarketers had made just a few appointments, which the rep and the salesperson went out on. One client was signed up during the week. However, that client canceled before we ever started working on it. Over the next several weeks, the marketing process was run, following the script and instructions of NCI. The telemarketers did not achieve the number of appointments each week as NCI said should be achievable. The salesperson did not sign up any other clients. After a couple of months, I let one telemarketer go and left one on to see what the results would be. In October, the salesperson quit because was not getting any clients and, consequently, making much money. I figured that I could go out on appointments when any were booked. There were very few booked and as the holiday period approached, I let the one remaining telemarketer go. The NCI rep had thought that getting 20 or more new clients would have been possible in the path to the $300k in billings. In reality, I had zero clients and zero revenue. Because I had spent several thousand dollars and was low on funds, I had to put the program on hold while I worked consulting projects to pay the bills and make some money. It was my hope that I might restart the program after the first of this year. I remained busy with client work and could not muster much enthusiasm for taking my hard-earned money and spending on the program that had proven totally ineffective in the past. Does that make sense as a business decision? If I had achieved even some lower-level results that would show promise that the program would work and sticking with it would get me to the $300k in annual billings. But when the results were exactly ZERO, that was a hard leap for me to make. I requested a refund of the amount that I had paid less their out-of-pocket costs in sending the rep in to my location. I felt like that was more than fair. I know that the guarantee for a two-year period of time, but it was clear that my market area was a tough nut to crack. I was hoping that NCI would demonstrate a sense of honor and integrity and show that they prioritized the needs of their clients. If so, I thought that a partial refund of the fee was not too much to ask for. However, the response was a definite “No” and that I should go ahead and start over by hiring new people, with NCI’s help. They would not come in to interview or train the telemarketers, but they would send someone in to train the salesperson. I must admit that I just couldn’t do it. The thought of spending thousands of dollars more when the previous time failed so miserably was too much for me. As it is, I am still paying for an office that I have no need for and virtually never use. I again asked for some help from NCI. They offered to refund me the amount that they would not be spending to send in another rep, but that’s it. Apparently, they thought that keeping my fee that was not earned and was not used to cover actual expenses was not a reasonable expectation on my part. After going through this process, an accountant looking into the program could do all of this without the help of a firm like NCI. The NCI phone script is very basic and ineffective. They really don’t help much. I engaged them thinking that they would achieve the promised results but that just didn’t happen. I would encourage anyone looking into this program to think very hard about it. I would be happy to share my experience with anyone who is interested. .
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